International Youth Day 2021: for a green Palestine

Date: 12 August 2021

In April 2021, the YMCA’s Youth-Led Solutions Initiative selected 35 youth-led projects focused on climate action and environment. One of them is the BrinGreen initiative.  A team of young people from YMCA East Jerusalem distributed to the urban population of Palestine packages containing planting pots and seeds to make their world green again.

“Some of us live in Ramallah, which used to be a small town, explains Marwan Kouba, one of the BrinGreen team leaders. It has grown to be one of the main cities in Palestine and today, it is crowded with buildings. There are less and less green areas: we want to change this.”

The project aimed to encourage more people to plant: it is easy, not expensive and doesn’t always require a land. Via the project, which ran from December 2020 to April 2021, 13 young people have distributed green packages in Ramallah and Bethlehem. At the end of the project, they had reached over 400 people.

Knowing that space is an issue, they adapted the package: “We want to see more green areas not only on streets but on balconies as well”, shares Loris Tarazi, the other team leader. “The contents of the package were edible goods that can be used as food ingredients. We included a lettuce seedling, with spinach and radish seeds. We also provided a small manual on how to plant and take care of each plant, and how to use them as ingredients in the kitchen. This shows  people how rewarding it is to plant their own food which is organic and naturally grown”.

The Youth-Led Solutions funds were used for transporting and buying the resources, such as compost, pots, plants and seeds, with a bulk purchasing company. The team could also print out the manuals. They chose carefully which plants they would distribute, taking into consideration the season and weather conditions of the region.

“People were really glad to get a package”, says Marwan Kouba. “Most of them said that they were encouraged by this project to try out and start planting. Some even brought their friends and neighbours the next day, which means that we are impacting many people. The overall feedback that we have received has been very positive”.

As we mark International Youth Day 2021, we join the United Nations in bringing up stories related to the theme: “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.